By Sung Lee
Analysis: Why Rice Intensification Matters in Asia, IRIN, April 24
The system of rice intensification is gaining ground across Asia as more and more governments come to rely on it for food security. Less seed, less water, less pesticides and chemical fertilizers can bring significantly higher yields, according to the International Network and Resources Centre, based at Cornell University in the US. SRI methods are being successfully applied to other staple commodities like wheat and sugarcane, and teff in northeast Africa.
UN Says 500,000 to Get Food Aid in Syria Amid Worry that Hunger Will Grow, Washington Post, April 24
The World Food Program says it will provide food for 250,000 people by the end of the month with help from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. It plans to quickly double that “in the coming weeks” and focus on Homs, Hama, Idleb and Damascus.
China to Import Rice From India, Financial Times, April 24
China shrugged off India’s successful launch of an intercontinental missile by reiterating cooperation with its neighbor to the west. True to its word, the world’s biggest producer of rice is now set to import the pride of Indian agriculture: long-grain or basmati rice. Trade between India and China grew nearly 20 percent to hit a record high of $73.9bn in 2011, though the trade gap stood at about $27bn in China’s favor.
Southern African Countries Collaborate on Plans for Climate Research Center, Guardian, April 23
Five countries in southern Africa have joined forces to launch a research center that will work on combating climate change in the region. South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia signed a declaration on Wednesday to base the initiative in the Namibian capital Windhoek.
African Agricultural Ministers Call for Innovative Funding to the Sector, Henry Neondo, News Time Africa, April 23
Organizations like FARA and AFAAS are working on a range of initiatives to develop innovative tools to share information, knowledge and provide advice to farmers on how to improve their yields, provide them with market information, and share experiences. Amongst experts, Africa’s mobile phone and ICT revolution is widely seen as one solution to helping farmers get around problems associated with poor infrastructure in rural areas.
Foreign Aid III: BRICS as Donors, Council on Foreign Relations, April 20
Spending on foreign assistance by developed countries decreased in real terms in 2011, the first such decrease since 1997. Given ongoing economic troubles in the United States, Japan, and Europe, flat-line or declining aid budgets from OECD countries are likely to be the new normal. But foreign assistance from emerging economies is growing fast, albeit from a low starting point.